An amazing story from the AP about Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chief deputy whip in the House and a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. Wasserman Schultz is a visible and powerful presence for House Democrats and rising star of the party. Few people, including the leadership of the House, have known of her struggle with breast cancer.
From the AP: "Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz hated relying too much on her staff, but she needed them to keep up appearances during her undercover battle against cancer. After several major surgeries, including a double mastectomy, she couldn't even carry her own papers in the Capitol. Staff even helped her look cheerful when she hosted a fundraiser for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 'I was hooked up to drains and I had a pain pack coming out of my chest, which I hid with clothing and ingenious staff work on a purse,' the Florida Democrat said, adding with a laugh, 'I hugged people gingerly.' She handled her cancer the way she handles her job: taking on tasks gracefully, winning respect from colleagues from both parties. But she said protecting her children - 9-year-old boy and girl twins, and another 5-year-old girl - came first. She would keep it a secret from her three children, too."
Added Wasserman Schultz: "'I just didn't want it to define me. When I'm quoted in the newspaper, I didn't want to be 'Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who's battling breast cancer.' I wanted to be viewed as a congresswoman, as a mom, as a fighter.'"
Congressman Wasserman Schultz has gone public because she has a new mission: "Educating young women about breast cancer. She filed a bill that would direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to start a national education program aimed at women under 40 and doctors who see them."